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Some days ago I tried answering a question but it appeared the user asked multiple questions. But due to context, they still seem to connect to the same problem

A moderator deleted my answer with: "I think this is answering another answer. Please only post answers to answer the main question asked"

Reinstalling Windows 11 after LFS 11.2 has been built

I understand answers should match the question, but deletion? Ask for a more clear answer, or interact with me. This feels discouraging and I feel hurt. seriously consider a person might try out to give answers and hopes with feedback to both improve giving answers and improve their english. I tried even to help answer the main question within the subquestion they had.

Id like to know if this is the behaviour I can expect from other common stackoverflow communities and their mods. because I dont like to spend time on answering questions for them to be deleted instead of encouraged to improve them. Or am I supposed to read from this to just improve it and submit again?

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    Regarding your last paragraph (and this is only for info, not critique in any way): There are currently four U&L moderators, and as all StackExchange moderators, we are individual users of the site, not employees, and we tend to do day-to-day moderation using our own individual reasoning, not as a team in close collaboration (unless there are special issues arising). More info about moderation here: unix.stackexchange.com/help/site-moderators
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Oct 27 at 11:12

1 Answer 1

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Ah, the mod was me. First of all, thank you for coming here and posting such a calm and constructive question. And I'm sorry, I certainly didn't intend to discourage you from participating! However, I am afraid that yes, deleting was indeed the right course of action. I know this can be confusing to new users (I remember how confusing I found it at first), but these sites don't work in the same way as traditional online forums. We don't do discussion and everything posted as an "Answer" needs to be a direct, preferably complete, answer to the question asked in the "Question".

In this case, the person who posted the question (the "OP", original poster) who is also new and so didn't know the rules, posted a second question as an answer to their original post. This is really something we want to avoid. The whole point of the Stack Exchange (SE) system is to have direct Questions and Answers. No discussions, no "noise", each post is a single question with one or more answers.

So yes, we really don't want people to be answering questions that were posted as answers and deleting is the standard course of action in such cases because we want to keep the site streamlined and to the point. As you spend more time on the various SE sites, and I hope you will despite the unpleasant first experience, you will see there is a general policy of aggressive deletion. Anything that isn't on topic or isn't directly answering the question asked will indeed be deleted.

You can think of these sites as having one main objective: to build a collection of useful Q&As that can then be used by others as a reference. So we want everything to be nice and clean and to the point so that if someone comes to a question two years down the line, they will just find a clear question and a clear answer and don't need to wade through several pages of discussion to find the one nugget of information they need as is often the case in traditional forums.

I completely understand how this can be surprising to new users, but this kind of strictness is a very important part of what makes these sites and this model work for us. Your answer was actually really good, it was just not an Answer to the Question of that page.

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    I just rolled back an edit adding the second (GRUB) question to the main question, as we don't usually allow unrelated follow-up questions like that (they should be posted as separate questions). Once the original user posts that new question themselves, the user here, CodeAsm, is most welcome to answer it. They may also post the question themselves and post a self-answer, unless the question is a dupe. There was nothing wrong with the answer itself, it was just not an answer to the given question.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Oct 27 at 10:47
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    Thank you for your answer. I slowly start to understand the problem i was having. Its tricky to find good questions to answer, especially as a beginner. If i notice a question within a question, whats my best course of action?
    – CodeAsm
    Oct 27 at 11:06
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    Just flag it for mod attention, @CodeAsm. You can choose the "not an answer" option, and we will review and delete it. You can aso leave a comment (you need 50 rep, but you're almost there!) asking the OP to post it as a new question. You can even ask it yourself, if you find it very interesting (just use your own words) and then you can answer your own question.
    – terdon Mod
    Oct 27 at 11:10
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    By the way, I read your answer and I am not at all convinced you are a "beginner"! :)
    – terdon Mod
    Oct 27 at 11:11
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    @terdon Help remind me, but if the community flags an Answer because it's really a new question as "Not An Answer", that sends it to the Low Quality review queue, which can be handled by the community. Just putting a finer point on "flagging for mod attention", which is a separate flagging option and isn't the best choice for plain old NAA's.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Oct 27 at 11:44
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    @JeffSchaller yeah, I just meant flag it, not flag with a custom reason.
    – terdon Mod
    Oct 27 at 11:47
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    @CodeAsm This advice from one of the comments is quite good: "You can even ask it yourself, if you find it very interesting (just use your own words) and then you can answer your own question". I have done it at least once; see the preamble in this question of mine on Super User. Nov 3 at 10:24

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